Edinburgh quartet earn Scotland Six Nations call-up

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter
Vern Cotter has selected 15 Glasgow Warriors players for his initial squad of 32

Scotland's initial Six Nations squad features four Edinburgh players called up to the international set-up for the first time by head coach Vern Cotter.

Scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 21, forwards Ben Toolis and Hugh Blake, both 22, and 24-year-old back-row Hamish Watson are in the 32-man squad.

"They have impressed me with their desire to go forward," said Cotter.

"They reflect the Scottish spirit of attacking and leading, to develop into impressive performers."

Scotland's Six Nations fixtures
7 Feb: France v Scotland, 17:00 GMT
15 Feb: Scotland v Wales, 15:00 GMT
28 Feb: Scotland v Italy, 14:30 GMT
14 Mar: England v Scotland, 17:00 GMT
21 Mar: Scotland v Ireland, 14:30 GMT

Hidalgo-Clyne has played in every match for his club in the Pro12 and Europe this season and brings a goal-kicking threat to the team.

Watson was invited to train with the Scotland squad in the autumn but a broken jaw sustained in European competition ended his chance of a first cap.

Lock Toolis has impressed for the capital side while deputising for the injured lock Grant Gilchrist and Blake comes into the squad for the first time having arrived in Scotland from Super Rugby side Highlanders in December.

New Zealand-born Blake qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandparents.

Ben Toolis
Ben Toolis, the 6ft 7in lock, has seized his chance to play for club and country

Seven other Edinburgh players are in Cotter's list, including stand-off Greig Tonks and 21-times capped centre Matt Scott, who missed last year's summer tour and autumn Tests through injury.

Glasgow Warriors provide 15 players, among them centre Mark Bennett who has recently recovered from a hamstring injury.

Tight-head prop Jon Welsh also earns a recall after injury, while Peter Horne could feature for the first time since the summer tour.

Six squad members play their club rugby outside Scotland - captain Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Blair Cowan and Geoff Cross (both London Irish).

Cotter, added: "We are approaching this RBS Six Nations looking to perform and develop.

"It will be a great process for us and I know the players are looking forward to it.

Hugh Blake
Hugh Blake is eligible to play for Scotland through his grandparents, one of whom was from Glasgow, another from Edinburgh

"Obviously we'll be facing some very good sides, four of which are above us in the world rankings, however we have nothing to hide going into this year.

"We start with a very difficult game against France in Paris and we will prepare as best as possible for that game and adapt as the competition evolves."

Scotland squad for RBS Six Nations

Forwards: Hugh Blake (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Cowan, Geoff Cross (both London Irish), David Denton, Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Rob Harley, Euan Murray, Gordon Reid (all Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Ben Toolis, Hamish Watson (both Edinburgh Rugby), Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors).

Backs: Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar, (Glasgow Warriors) Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby), Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne (both Glasgow Warriors) Greig Laidlaw (capt, Gloucester), Sean Lamont, Sean Maitland, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell (all Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Tonks, Tim Visser (both Edinburgh Rugby).

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